Tuesday, 31 July 2007

Schools-Who needs appraisal ?

Ankur's post on the state of Schools in India prompted me to get my dad's opinion on improving the sitution in the Govt. School.
This is one of his pet topics as he was closely associated with management training for a long time.
So here goes....

Performance appraisal :
1. Scholar's performance
2. Teacher's performance

Of these two I would rather prefer the second as more important in view of the fact that our objective at present is to improve the educational system in institutions esp. Govt. institutions.
While the scholars' performance is being apprised, by various means , and from time to time this system of apprisal is being updated and revised , the performance of the teachers is given scant regard .
Some of the higher institutions such as IIMs do have a performance appraisal system for teachers in the form of feed-back in standardised formats .Even these formats are not tailored to individual subjects but are generic in nature and therefore the efficacy of these formats is doubtful. At the same time the other institutions do not even have such rudimentary feed-backs and tend to shy away from apprisal of any kind.
Therefore if the remuneration of the teachers is linked to performance by some acceptable form - acceptable to both the teachers and the taught - the educational system per se will see some light at the end of the tunnel.
However care has to be taken to fine tune the apprisal system itself periodically. This can come about only if we set up an objective group of persons who have a stake in the system and this can be achieved only by giving wide publicity and inviting comments from the public .


While it is true that the teachers are being increasingly diverted for other 'works', ostensibly for "pulic" purposes, the fact that the education per se is given a go-by and nobody seems to object to this. A typical example is that the teachers were given TARGETS to "catch" victims for sterililization surgeries under the family planning programmes; and so is the case when every election crops up be it the panchayat level or the parliament level. The irony is that the teachers do not seem to protest and seem to be happy to get away from their primary jobs.

In my personal experience I have come across the crass attitudes of the teachers even when they are well and regularly paid. All this is because of the fact that the teachers' performance is not apprised in an objective manner. Nor are they accountable.

I would like to quote an instance that I personaly know. A 400 two-roomed rural school building was built. Although the buildings themselves could be and were built in record time, many were not brought underuse since they were not being taken over by the teachers. The matter required probing so that any changes in design desired by the users could be incorporated. In most of the cases we could find that the teachers were of native of and resided in nearby villages/towns. They were all commuting to their jobs by motor cycles. Consequently a rainy day did not see the teacher at the school. The objection to occupying the buildings was that there were no ramps leading into the class rooms and the teachers insisted that they would only park their mobikes inside the class lest the mobikes be meddled with by the children and surprisingly no sanction was forth coming of construction of the ramps. AND EDUCATION AND EDUCATIONAL INFRASTRUCTURE WAS FORGOTTEN. This prolonged for a couple of months and both the construction wing nor the teachers were prepared to bring the stalemate to an end. Seeing the pathetic condition, an innovative solution was found by involving the local villagers who by contribution of material and/ or labour provided ramps to enable their wards to be housed in better class rooms.

Such instances are numerous.
Similar instance can also be quoted from the nation's capital. A group of officers from other states were to be taken around to show the achievements of the Union Territory in school managements. The officers who were to take the guests around Delhi were the ones who were supposed to periodically inspect, supervise and advise. But surprisingly the 'guides' did not know their way around; in one case they even took the officers to a gate of a school which was locked up and the neighbours around on enquiry revealed that the gate had not been opened for almost a decade and that the a small gate from another street was being used.

If such are the approaches to education where are we?

Tuesday, 24 July 2007

Raasa-Leela - a spiritual message


Among all the minature paintings portraying Lord Krishna , the one that I find very captivating is 'Raasa-Leela'.

Its a very attractive one with Krishna and Radha dancing in the middle of a large circle formed by Gopikas dancing with 'her own' Krishna . Personalised service ;)

The picture that comes to our mind when we talk about Lord Krishna is one of a casanova , a jokester or a prankster. On the surface it looks like Krishna is having a whale of a time dancing with all those nubile nymphs. But just a little study unravels the true meaning behind the portrait.

The devotional fervor Krishna created in the gopikas is best explained by the rasa-leela dance, wherein each of hundreds of gopikas perceived Krishna to be dancing with them alone.
As the dance progressed, the gopikas acted and moved in different ways: one sang on a high and another on a lower pitch; a third reclined on the shoulder of Krishna .This diversity of movement points to a significant fact in spiritual life: no two devotees have the same identical journey.

God draws different people in different ways. He is the great loverand for him every human being is precious. He multi-locates himself, leading each devotee according to his/her individual wishes.

The love between Krishna on one hand and all other Gopikas on the other was quite devoid of any physical connotations. . It was the spirutual craving of the individual soul to get united with the Supremo.

There is an inner innocent girl waiting within each of us, desiring to emerge and play with our friendly cowherd in an exchange of love.

I like the painting for its very colorful attractive looks , but somehow this explanation adds to its charm .

And this perspective is more appealing to me than portraying Krishna as a philanderer.


Wednesday, 18 July 2007

"Happily Ever After" ..myth or mission ?

Most of us know the fairy tale where the prince rescues the damsel in distress and they ride off into the sunset to a place called "Happily Ever After." Many of us think, in some way, that there is truth to this insipid tale.

But its just a mirage. We see many marriages fail even before they take off.
We can only analyse the reasons and give solutions to the problems.
We argue that girls should equip themselves with a career and be financially independent.
But sadly , in many cases even though there are no financial worries , the break-up itself takes it toll on the people involved.

Everyone enters into a marriage with expectations about how the marriage will satisfy his or her needs. Problems arise when these expectations go unmet and feelings of disappointment start to seep in.

Therefore, it is very important that one is prepared to face the worst if things go wrong. Why is it assumed that once the marriage is over , everything will fall into place ? It has to be understood that there is many a slip between the lip and the cup and that it can take any route.

A person should be taught to enter the threshold of marriage with an open mind , prepared to face the harsh realities and not to succumb to depression when failure strikes.
It should be taught that its not the be all and end all of life.

Wednesday, 11 July 2007

What Men Really Mean

Just so apt :))

"It's a guy thing."
Really means...."There is no rational thought pattern connected with it, and you have no chance at all of making it logical."

"Can I help with dinner?"
Really means...."Why isn't it already on the table?"

"Uh huh," "Sure, honey," or "Yes, dear."
Really means....Absolutely nothing. It's a conditioned response.

"It would take too long to explain."
Really means..."I have no idea how it works.

"We're going to be late."
Really means...."Now I have a legitimate excuse to drive like a maniac."

"Take a break, honey, you're working too hard."
Really means...."I can't hear the game over the vacuum cleaner."

"That's interesting, dear."
Really means...."Are you still talking?"

"It's a really good movie."
Really means...."It's got guns, knives, fast cars, and beautiful women."

"That's women's work."
Really means...."It's difficult, dirty, and thankless."

"You know how bad my memory is."
"Really means.... "I remember the theme song to 'F Troop', the address of the first girl I ever kissed and the Vehicle Identification Numbers of every car I've ever owned, but I forgot your birthday."

"I was just thinking about you, and got you these roses."
Really means.... "The girl selling them on the corner was a real babe."

"Oh, don't fuss. I just cut myself, it's no big deal."
Really means.... "I have actually severed a limb, but will bleed to death before I admit I'm hurt."
"Hey, I've got my reasons for what I'm doing."
Really means.... "...And I sure hope I think of some pretty soon."

"I can't find it."
Really means.... "It didn't fall right into my outstretched hands, so I'm completely clueless."

"What did I do this time?"
Really means.... "What did you catch me at?"

"I heard you."
Really means.... "I haven't the foggiest clue what you just said, and am hoping desperately that I can fake it well enough so that you don't spend the next 3 days yelling at me."

"You know I could never love anyone else."
Really means.... "I am used to the way you yell at me, and realize it could be worse."

"You look terrific."
Really means.... "Oh, God, please don't try on one more outfit. I'm starving."

"I'm not lost. I know exactly where we are."
Really means.... "No one will ever see us alive again."

"We share the housework."
Really means.... "I make the messes, she cleans them up."

How'z it :P

Thursday, 5 July 2007

The dream life of Ananya

My dream life is this :) If I live in a hut , this is what my routine would be. I'd wake up in the morning , arrange the previous nights washed dishes , go and sprinkle water all over and put designs (rangoli) then make tea and serve it .I would fetch water from the well and near the well I'd do some gossiping .I'd come back make breakfast serve it and then start cooking the lunch.While the rice is getting cooked , I'd dust , sweep and mop the house. I'd finish the cooking serve it , have it and have a little cat-nap.I'd wake up early and wash the dishes and the clothes , and hang the clothes for drying .Then I wld go , fetch fire wood for a long time, come back and fold the clothes.Arrange the dishes back in their places , start cooking dinner. After serving , I'd wash the dishes and make everybody's beds and go to sleep and relax :)

PS...typed by me while madam dictated. Not one word of the above is mine :)
Ananya is 10 yrs old and is presently in the 6th standard whose dream is a village life :)
She is my 'terror' of a niece ;-)
She insisted on me posting her dream and is looking forward to the comments :))


Monday, 2 July 2007


I was tagged by Amit to write 8 facts about myself…
Thank you Amit , for tagging me..it really made me think :)

I also thank whoever started this for one thing…..one writes about oneself…if its like ‘get a few to tell u a few facts about u….I’d be torn between telling the truth or saving my face’ :)

These are the rules

1. Each player starts with 8 random facts/habits about themselves.

2. People who are tagged, write a blog post about their own 8 random things, and post these rules.

3. At the end of your post you need to tag 8 people and include their names. Don’t forget to leave them a comment and tell them they’re tagged, and to read your blog.

4. If you fail to do this within eight hours, you will not reach Third Series or attain your most precious goals for at least two more lifetimes.

I will follow the first three..the last one I cld’nt follow bcos truly I had a hard time coming up with 8 facts about myself ( I was apprehensive if my readers wld think I am pompous , whenever I came up with a fact ;-) )

so guys I have mellowed things a bit

As for my precious goals…I guess I have to come to terms with being single for another 2 lifetimes =)) ( yeah yeah…I am able to hear all u ladies shout ‘it’s a boon !!! ’ :)) got it !! )

So ladies and gentleman…u can unfasten ur seat belts now and recline ur seats and relax ! the flight is going to be a smooth one

1. I like to call myself a simple person with a down to earth attitude. I enjoy a lot of activities and it does’nt matter if its an expensive hobby or just a hay ride in a farm..I am equally happy doing both.

2. I love reading and have a good collection of books. I even collect books which I feel may interest me at a later date.

3. I love discussions and arguments. Even if I don’t know the subject I stay there and make it a point to understand it.

4. If there is one thing I cant stand , its mediocre movies . I cant stand bad movies. I don’t mean I am a Maniratnam fan or am an intellectual , but movies like ‘Veerasamy ‘ and ‘Kabhi alvida na kehna ‘ …pleaseee , torture. But there are some movies like ‘beautiful mind’ and ‘pretty woman’ that I can watch over and over again.

5.Travelling interests me a lot, but I do not like those guided or pre arranged tours by the tour companies. I like to go to a place where I have a local friend and with the help of him/her decide my own places of interest.

6. My weakness is the elderly. I especially love the 70+ and go out of my way to converse with them . I have a liking for all their ‘in those days….” stories .

7. If there is something that makes me nervous , its ‘cooking’ . I get so scared and nervous that it wont turn out well ( and most of the time, it does'nt , atleast that’s how they seem to me :P) .

8. My days are filled with humor , I like to see the lighter side of things and make humor out of even the most mundane of things. I thank my grandfather for this :)

Hey , we have landed safely and I hope it was a smooth flight ! You all get unlimited access to the comment section free , as a bonus for flying with me ;)

Ensooiiiiii , pals :)

I am tagging Ankur , Sowmya , Ravi , Thiru , Sahasra , Jeevan , Adiya and Kamal !

I am warning u guys ! Beware of the fourth rule !!